Entitled Arm

Quinn Rockliff and Kristy Boyce 

This device draws attention to the impatient customer and super-fast service they demand in our world. We want instant replies, instant satisfaction and instant thirst quenching beer replenishment in our busy lives. This device is intended to both criticize and draw attention to the demands of customers in the food and beverage industry by physically demonstrating the desire for service instantly without human intervention. As ones beer becomes more empty, the wire hand creeps upwards from below the bar, once the glass is completely empty the hand begins to shake after waiting a short time,  in a way so irritating to the bartender they may ignore you even more.

This device will then reset when the glass is refilled only to creep up again and flail its hand around when the glass is empty. This device eliminates human interaction and communication between server and served to demonstrate and allow for the continuation of the impersonal and disconnected ways of our busy lives.

Circuit Diagram



Here is the circuit diagram. This circuit shows how we took the light sensor off the bread board in order to allow it to be attached to the cup. Please see the note on the diagram as it explains the connection between the legs of the sensor and the other components. One thing we quickly learned was important to our projects success was the correct power output. Using the USB output instead of pulling from the 3V was important for the servo to be able to support the hand made of wire as well as create the most obnoxious and busy vibe for our device.


Here you will find a link to our code used.


When we were initially paired together our first thoughts were – we have no idea what we’re doing. Yet as we toyed around with our four cards (still having no idea what some of them meant) we began to think of ideas that we felt both encapsulated the meaning of the cards and pushed their meaning beyond classical interpretation. We came up with the idea that a flag would raise as a drink emptied but realized this wasn’t challenging the idea of busy as more nor was it drawing on our material enough: Wire. Throughout this process section, you will see the many iterations of how we tried to use wire to convey busy using text, imagery and a little bit of both!

The first thing we had to do was create a code that combined the mapping we had learned in experiment one as well as how to translate that into acknowledging the servo existed. Adding in a definition for the servo we were then able to get the sensorVal to map to the servo (S1) and get some movement happening.

We then had to adjust our thresholds to some different numbers in order to make sure the servo was moving at an appropriate rate in order to wave its hand just in time!

Then we built out the wires in order to allow for the sensor to be attached to the cup…

Then we realized…this just isn’t busy enough..we must make this more busy…so off to office hours we went. We understood that we must add to the code and create an if and else statement so that after a certain amount of time with the light sensor value high (meaning the cup was empty) we can cause the motor to go between 2 random values to create a highly irritating hand shaking movement. mimicking the impatient customer in real life waving their hand around, suffering in every millisecond they continue in life without beer. So we added to code and created a two-part loop. Beer gets empty, hand goes up, beer stays empty, hand shakes until the beer is filled.


sketch1 sensor solder


The second class once we were off the breadboard we worked on adjusting the code and playing with how the entitled arm reacted to light differently. img_3052


Later sketch iterations




Mug mock up


Here is us working on different iterations of the busy signifier, first with wire spelling the word more please, but that wasn’t busy enough


This took away from our material…


A little too simple and tacky, and didn’t use our material enough



This hand started to be more up our alley and wiggled in a particularly irritating and entitled fashion


Then we found this box that we thought was SO great and brought it to the Maker Lab…turns out it is not so great for cutting into and we should probably just make our own box to hide our materials behind and create our faux bar top.







(it was not so great)








We then created our faux counter top…


Measured and installed our servo…img_3080


Then we installed the light sensor into the lid of the cup we purchased and repurposed it to be placed on the bottom of the cup to be able to read the light coming down in to the glass.








So sleek, so nice, also a little spooky! In an ideal world and with a little more time to prototype we would explore wireless options for the mug. but for now this solution with a side notch – vs. our original bottom notch we thought of – does not impede beer drinking.

Interaction test 1


Final Video of working arm!


Quinn is a server and knows how much of a pet peeve the waving hand is when it is attached to a human. She also knows that if this was an automatic hand that waved without fail every time a drink became empty she would be very annoyed. Fun fact: Quinn was just fired from her serving job for spending too much time at school. More time to create experiments like this to criticize the industry and demands of customers, perfect.

Another way we knew our device was doing its job was when we told Sean (a server as well)  about it he said “I would tear that thing up into a hundred pieces” SUCCESS!

We also looked to some artists who work with wire and movement in order to get some inspiration for how to use our material in order to create a signifier.



Arthur Ganson

Madeline’s Fragile Machine.44133




We also loved this sculpture that involved hands and movement, not as busy as we would like, more slow and creepy but had some features that we loved

The artist’s name is Tim Lewis and his bio can be found here


Max Dean’s robotic chair informed the way we looked at creating the action for the hand. The chair appears to have its own consciousness and to be self-determining in its actions. We liked that concept and applied it to our hands’ seeming impatience in terms of how few seconds it allows to pass once it senses the glass is empty before it begins to gesture agitatedly.



Our design for the hand came from this inspiration picture pulled from here





Additionally, since our project comes from a place of humour and play, we researched combinative play as a creative technique, which can be found here





Kinetic Art/Sculpture by Tim Lewis. From Alter Image produced by Jane Thorburn https://youtu.be/ZHUJGH35edg


Max Dean – Robotic Chair


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